According to the European Broadcasting Union, the Eurovision Song Contest is apolitical entertainment. This year, it is held in Azerbaijan, a country known for political repression and a poor human rights record.
For human rights activists in Azerbaijan, the Eurovision Song Contest is a blessing in disguise. Never before have their concerns received as much exposure in the European press.
The European Song Contest is a thoroughly politicized event, not a celebration of culture. The strained relationship between the Azerbaijani hosts and their Armenian guests is only the most obvious example of the politics of art.
How can we celebrate and seek comfort in pop entertainment while dissidents are beaten and repressed? The only beneficiaries of "apolitical art" is the regime which avoids scrutiny.
Ignoring political context won’t change the facts: the Eurovision Song Contest is a political event. Almost all countries use the music stage for political performances – and they are getting increasingly good at it.
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